9-1-1 envy

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The City of Visalia opened it’s new communications center to the public today, and now I have a serious case of dispatch center envy.

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Their new center is spacious, well laid out, modern, and will be a joy for their staff to work in… especially since the current center is a small room in the basement of the police station downtown.

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This center will serve the needs of Visalia for the next fifty years or more.

Tulare County really needs to get on the ball and upgrade it’s 9-1-1 dispatch center, which is also in a small room in a basement. (It’s supposed to be moved upstairs to a somewhat larger room (with windows!) soon, but “soon” in government speak is always vague.) Plans to move it to the new Cigna building at Akers and Tulare are on “hold”, probably forever (my pessimism is creeping in here), and I doubt it will ever be there. The county should follow the City of Visalia’s lead, and build a dedicated 9-1-1 communications center. (especially since the county missed the boat and… ‘declined’… to join with Visalia and consolidate the centers into one building.)

Congratulations, Visalia. You’ve got a well laid out, modern, functional emergency communications center that will serve the city for a long time. I’m green with envy.

I wonder if it’s a time to consider a change in my work venue?

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Our part of the valley used to be an Oak forest

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South of Woodlake, California. Road 212, south of Avenue 328, looking southeast.

#ThrowBackThursday – January 1986

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January 1986, on the top of Moro Rock, in Sequoia National Park, which is just up the road from my home in Visalia.  It may look like I have a death grip on the rail, but I don’t remember being at all nervous there.  I’m 28 here, and there are two things I notice in this picture:  how much hair I have compared to today, and how much snow on the mountains compared to today.  Both were much thicker than now.  Mother Nature can be a bitch, and Father Time a bastard!

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Tulare County Film Commission posts new promo video

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One Day or One Trial (but really only 2 hours)

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Monday last was my first adventure into the jury selection process since the mid 1980’s.  Back then, I made it all the way into the court room and interviews by the attorneys in a Federal case, something dealing with drugs.  I was excused by the prosecution, probably due to my age.  Ever since, every time I’ve been sent a juror summons, my group was excused on the recorded message the day before the appearance was demanded.  This week, my group made it to the courthouse, but didn’t have to be there until 1pm.  So I gussied up, showed up, and wondered if I would see the inside of a court room this trip.  Well, it appears any jury duty will be a bit like my attempts to get my current job.  Inch a bit closer, each try, and eventually, years later, land that puppy.

So I sat. More

The Other Road

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That title is not a “road not taken” musing, it’s an actual street name in my county!

After more than 18 years at the same agency, you’d think I’d have run across every street name in the county by now, especially if they’re not in a new sub-division.  Saturday sprung a new one on me, however.  “The Other Road”.  It’s in the Kennedy Meadows area of southeastern Tulare County, and I’ve not heard of it before.  Neither had I heard of a road that intersects with it…  “Up The Hill Road”.

In my defense, while we have a resident Deputy that covers the area (two of them, actually), we almost never get any calls for service from this part of our county.  It’s remote…  very remote.  If a Deputy or backup has to come from the nearest substation, it’s at least two hours.  Deputies for that patrol this area have to be a special breed, which is appropriate, since the folks that live out there are a special breed themselves.

When I first heard a fellow dispatcher taking a call from an address on “The Other Road”, we both first thought we were dealing with someone who simply did not know the name of the other road.  Turns out WE were the ones who didn’t know!

Now I’m going to be looking over the maps during slow time, to see what other odd names crop up.  Years ago the County changed the name of a creek to Negro Creek.  I’m sure you can figure out what the old name was.

The Definition of Insanity

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… is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.

For almost ten years, voters in the Visalia area have elected, and re-elected, Devin Nunes to be our congressman in the House of Representatives.  In at least one election, Nunes ran unopposed.  In those ten years, we’ve seen a dramatic jump in the number of dairies in Tulare County and the surrounding area.  Tulare County is now #1 in dairy production in the United States.  Tulare County is also consistently #2 or #3 in overall agricultural production in the United States, usually hot on the heels of Fresno County.  Despite this leadership in the dairy industry (Representative Nunes’ family business) and agriculture, Tulare County is also one of the poorest counties in California.  Nearly a quarter of the population live in poverty, and one in three residents receives state aid.

One has to ask, in the midst of such wealth, why is the poverty level so high, and what has Devin Nunes done in his tenure in Congress to alleviate that poverty?  The answer, based on continuing high poverty levels, would seem to be “not much”.  Republicans love to talk business, and clamor for government to be run “more like a business”.  Well, we’ve had ten years of Mr. Nunes’ being in our employ, and we don’t have much to show for it (unless you’re a dairyman or farmer).  It’s time we seriously considered firing Mr. Nunes for his lack of success in solving the problems that have been plaguing Tulare County for years.  After all, that’s what any business would do, right?

On Sunday, August 12, 2012, I attended the grand opening of the Otto For Congress office in Visalia.  Otto Lee is a Commander in the Navy, Bronze Star recipient, private business owner, and former Mayor and Council member in Sunnyvale.

Otto Lee brings a fresh perspective to the needs of the new 22nd District.

Sunday’s office opening was a chance for people to meet the candidate, and talk to him about his goals and plans for the future.

There are many different groups that fall under the banner of what might be called Democratic “special interests”, and my interests are, of course, in the area of LGBT issues.  I had an opportunity to sit down with Otto for a few minutes, and discuss those subjects.

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